Government shutdown unlikely, Rep. Chris Stewart says

Dec 18, 2018, 1:40 PM
Chris Stewart surveillance reform...
File photo of Rep. Chris Stewart. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The threat of a government shutdown looms over America right now. President Donald Trump has threatened that, if the Democrats refuse to support his request for $5 billion to fund a border wall, he will force a partial shutdown in four days.

Not every lawmaker, however, is worried. KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic invited Rep. Chris Stewart on the show and asked him about Trump’s threat. Stewart, rather than raising alarm bells, said that it was “very likely” the shutdown wouldn’t happen.

“Some people say I’m being Pollyannish, but I’m not,” Stewart told KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic, “I actually don’t think we’re going to have a shutdown.”

Compromise is likely, Stewart says

Sarah Sanders

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks with reporters outside the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Washington. During the conference, Sanders said that the President was open to a compromise. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Despite the vicious rhetoric both Democrats and Republicans have used in their fight over the border wall, Stewart believes that the two parties will find a compromise.

“I think we can find a solution,” Stewart told Dave & Dujanovic.

He says that the issue at hand, border security, is important enough that both sides want a favorable outcome.

“Anyone who doesn’t argue that we don’t need border security, I think, has just lost their minds,” Stewart says. “Every nation has to have the ability and the right to secure their borders and know who’s crossing those borders.”

The issue is especially important for President Trump, who campaigned heavily on the promise of a border wall. Still, Stewart believes that the President will be willing to meet the Democrats halfway.

“Surely there’s some number we can come to where both sides would say, ‘Yeah, I can live with that,’” Stewart told Dave & Dujanovic. “I mean, [$5 billion] is a tiny amount of money when you compare it with our overall budget.”

Indeed, around the time Stewart was talking with Dave & Dujanovic, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was telling the press that the President was open to a compromise, saying:

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion. We will work with Congress if they will make sure we get a bill passed that provides not just the funding for the wall, but there’s a piece of legislation that’s been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion for border security, including $1.6 billion for the wall. That’s something that we would be able to support as long as we can couple that with other funding resources.”

Democrats have yet to agree to the President’s suggested compromise. Stewart believes, however, that an agreement will be met before time runs out.

The effects of a partial government shutdown

Government Shutdown

During a previous government shutdown, a US Park Police officer walks behind a barricade with sign reading “Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN All National Parks are Closed” in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press)

If we do see a partial shutdown, Stewart says, “It’s not going to impact most people.”

According to KSL.com and the Associated Press, “virtually every essential government agency” will remain open in the event of a government shutdown, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the U.S. Postal Service.

Some will, however, be affected. An estimated 420,000 federal employees would be required to work without pay during the shutdown, including many law enforcement and corrections officers, Homeland Security employees, TSA workers, Customs and Border Protection agents, and Coast Guard employees.

Another 380,000 government employees will be taken off the job, including the majority of NASA, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce Department, and National Park Service employees.

Many national parks may close as a result. In the past, the Washington Monument and other national parks have closed down during partial government shutdowns.

But even that, Stewart says, is unlikely. He remains optimistic that the Democrats and Republicans will reach a compromise before time runs out.

“I do think there’s a way we can get to a solution,” Stewart says. “And if not, then some people just dug their heels over politics and not over the right policy, and shame on them if they do that.”

Rep. Chris Stewart on the Suicide Prevention Hotline

Rep. Stewart appeared on the show to talk about the new, three-digit Suicide Prevention Hotline he and Sen. Orrin Hatch have championed for the last three years.

He’s hoping that, in January or February of next year, anyone in need of help will be able to dial 611 and get the help they need.

You can hear everything he had to say about 611 and the threat of a government shutdown on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Government shutdown unlikely, Rep. Chris Stewart says